Focusing on Each Person’s Journey

    While the wilderness provides a background and impetus for our therapeutic program, our clinical theory and evidence-based practices address the unique developmental and psychological needs of each student. We work individually with each student in the therapeutic environment to move them forward on their specific journey.

    Our clinical foundation includes:

    • Self-Awareness – Holding up a metaphorical mirror for students and families to better see themselves
    • Emotional Regulation – Teaching skills for managing emotions, maintaining energy, and soothing stress
    • Interdependence – Developing relational intelligence and the knowledge that we are all members of interdependent communities
    • Transference – Guiding the transitions of students while they are enrolled, so that they can sustain success after they graduate.

    Trails Carolina offers Therapeutic Wilderness Programs that are based on decades of experience and scientific research that balances the benefits of wilderness therapy during expeditions with the practical experience of a residential base. Every student spends time in the wilderness and back at base camp to practice skills in a variety of settings and with different staff.

    These transitions are beneficial because your child may demonstrate success within certain realms or with certain individuals, but struggle to transfer those skills to other settings. For instance, while your child may excel during their time in the wilderness, they may struggle back at base camp as the structure and staff changes. These struggles can lead your child to feel insecure, grow frustrated, and return to previous behaviors.

    Our safe, therapeutic wilderness programs for troubled teens and young adults allows us to test and challenge the skills your child has gained to help create stronger behavioral patterns. Through expeditions and experience, Trails’ provides a safe environment for your child to learn to effectively express their emotions and behave in healthier ways. Our experienced, passionate therapeutic program team is there to help every step of the way.

    The therapeutic program includes

    • Initial assessments for better understanding of where your child “is” upon arrival
    • Weekly individual therapy with Primary Therapist to provide a personalized treatment plan
    • Weekly group therapy to help instill healthier behaviors with help of peers
    • Development and review of personal therapeutic plan with help from entire Trails Team
    • Weekly family phone sessions with Primary Therapist to help transfer skills from Trails back home.
    • Weekly seminars with Family Therapist and other Trails families as wilderness training continues with student.  Provides additional support and help so families feel less “alone”.
    • Specialized equine therapy to help students understand how others perceive their emotions and actions.
    • Transition planning to prepare for continued success at next program or at home.
    • Optional psychological, psycho-educational and personality assessments

    Blend of Wilderness and Base Campus

    Students practice transitions to new situations, settings, and staff to improve student confidence in better handling all that life throws at us whether in the wilderness or in the classroom.

    Decades of Experience

    Our talented team is passionate and experienced in building relationships and trust.

    Comprehensive Assessments for Individual Treatment Plans

    Upon arrival, each student is assigned a Primary Therapist who immediately conducts a thorough clinical assessment. Assessments and progress reports continue throughout your child’s stay. Every member of the Trails Teams—Therapeutic, Wilderness, Academic and Residential—is involved in this process to improve understanding of your child and results.

    This is why it is so important to alternate between wilderness and residential settings and mix interactions with different members of the team—to improve and test coping skills and practice new behaviors in a variety of situations. Your child and the entire family will continue weekly treatment with your individual Primary Therapist and Family Therapist while the entire Trails team continues to assess progress.

    This amount of attention to your child’s specific behaviors and circumstances allows us to individualize treatment in order to maximize gains and long-term success.

    “I feel” statements for Improving Accountability and Insight

    Many troubled youth have a difficult time taking ownership of their actions in a healthy way. Both accountability and insight are vital to help your child acknowledge their past actions and develop healthy tools and habits moving forward. One of the first things we work on with students (and their families) is to use “I feel” statements. It sounds simple, but it is incredibly powerful as a way to change the nature of communication. We are able to compassionately and firmly help your child understand the part they play in their actions by creating safe, supportive relationships with our staff.

    Through the use of individual, group, and family therapy sessions we can help your child move from defensive and defeated to self-confident and self-assured.




    “I’m more accepting of the road ahead of me.”
    Audrey T., Student